Make Your Office More Green
By: S Murray
Going green in the office should be good for the staff and for the company but despite this, many firms will struggle to implement green initiatives unless they have a specific policies in place and a member of staff prepared to champion the green cause.
This is because making changes requires time and effort, as well as in some cases an initial outlay of capital, whereas doing nothing, even if that means higher ongoing costs, is often the easy option.
If you have the ability to make and implement decisions that can have a positive (or negative) green impact on your office you should be considering the environmental impact of those decisions as part of the decision making process.
This does not mean that if you are not in a position to authorise changes within your company that you can not initiate these changes, although it does mean you may have to work harder to make an impact by assessing where improvements can be made and making the case to those who do have the power to make changes.
As with many things, simple steps can have a large positive impact. Two areas that can have immediate green advantages without significant cost expenditure are in the areas of recycling and energy use.
Rubbish and recycling collections may be organised by your company or through the building management and whilst changes to the provision of waste collection will require cooperation from the current provider, changes will also need the involvement of staff and your daily cleaners. Many refuse collection services now work on the basis of collecting office rubbish in the categories of general recycling and non recyclable waste. There is usually a cost advantage in sorting waste with the recycling being cheaper to dispose of than rubbish that goes to landfill, so this could be a good starting point to introduce a change within your office, but it will also mean that staff need to be committed enough to sort rubbish into the respective types. One way to make the task of sorting rubbish easier is by removing the traditional under desk waste bins and providing central refuse stations within the office, so that staff have to make a conscious decision in disposing of their rubbish.
Energy use is another area where small changes can have cost advantages. Any refurbishment programme should incorporate energy saving elements like sensors on lights and energy efficient equipment. Even if there is no planned capital spend replacing old bulbs with energy efficient ones and reducing the temperature of the heating in winter or turning down the air conditioning in summer can have a positive green impact with little or no cost implications to implement.